The Nothing Factory

This elegiac epic from Portuguese filmmaker Pedro Pinho chronicles a bitter labour dispute sparked by the closure of a factory on the outskirts of Lisbon.

200 jaar Karl Marx
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Shot in 16mm with a running time of nearly three hours, this elegiac film reflects on how traditional employment roles are shifting, and how workers no longer enjoy the stability and benefits that were the norm for previous generations. Reminiscent of films of Jean-Luc Godard, THE NOTHING FACTORY is a challenging and original film experience that reflects the recent social and political crisis in Portugal.
When management begins to sell off some of the equipment at a factory that makes elevator parts, the workers become nervous about their job security. Their fears are solidified when they are offered lump-sum payments rather than proper severance pay. As they weigh their options, the workers are forced to continue showing up at work even though they lack the machinery to carry out their duties. They try to figure out ways to combat the monotony. At one point, they even break into a song-and-dance routine.
Interweaving the drama at the factory with dinner conversations on labour politics and the market economy and a sequence showing one of the workers at home with his family, Pinho and his ensemble cast – who are mainly factory workers in real life – construct a brilliant piece that explores our relationship to work and questions the very tenets of our capitalist society. (source:

Pedro Pinho, Portugal, 2017, 177 min. Portuguese & French spoken, English subtitles. With José Smith Vargas, Carla Galvão, Njamy Sebastião, Joaquim Bichana Martins, Danièle Incalcaterra.
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